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Chauncy Welliver knows three expressions in Chinese: nín hão (hello), xiè xiè (thank you) and something he called a “native word” for “you’re welcome,” which frankly sounded more Tongan over the phone. But from Chinese to boxer to sports writer, something was bound to get lost in translation. “Maybe a thousand more fights here,” he said, “and I’ll be fluent.”
The first couple of hurdles aren’t the ones that vex him – the minor intrigue of the staggered start, who might be tracking you from behind or whether you’re making up too much ground too quickly on the runners ahead. He does not dread the backstretch and the inevitable wind that lives to ruin your rhythm, or the far curve where gearing down seems instinctual but gearing up is demanded. It’s not even the last two barriers, the desperate juggling of fatigue, steps and spacing where the closest races are always won and lost.
The story begins, as it so often does, with how it almost wasn’t a story at all.
Whatever tonight brings for the Spokane Chiefs – one more game to play or none at all – it’s good to remember that hockey in May seemed the least likely of all outcomes back in September. Oddly enough, the Chiefs still do. “We were picked to be last and look where we are now,” offered defenseman Jared Cowen. “People didn’t think we were going to be very good, and none of us really forgot that all year. “We’ve kept it in the back of our heads, even now.” Not that backup motivations are needed tonight, when they meet Portland in Game 6 of the Western Hockey League’s Western Conference finals at the Spokane Arena, with the Chiefs a loss away from elimination. “But it’s just human nature,” Cowen said, “to want to be better than people think you are.”
So now it’s “Win the day for Pantone Matching System 19-1543 TC and 14-1159 TC?” Damn, that screws up the rhyme in the fight song. In the color-by-numbers nitty-gritty of athletic apparel, those are the digits that identify the new crimson and the new gray – well, one of the new grays – in which Washington State athletes will be swaddled in the coming years, the first peek coming Monday night at what the school called an introduction of a “department-wide brand and identity program.”
SEATTLE – After each home game, the Seattle Mariners media relations staff issues a page of notes, statistical curiosities mostly – RBI streaks, a hitter who owns opponent pitching, season highs and the like. All as straightforward as junior high math.
One thing about basketball this time of year: There’s always room for another somebody special. For all the milestones passed, records set, poster poetry inspired and oohs aahed, Courtney Vandersloot is, in the end, still just one person, albeit 68 inches of giant. The Gonzaga Bulldogs may go just as far in the NCAA women’s basketball tournament as she, uh, Sloots them – or they may go further, now that the Zags have unleashed Kayla Standish.
After stops at Gonzaga, Minnesota and now Long Beach State Dan Monson has a keen perspective on things as a coach and a father.
The Gonzaga Bulldogs celebrated Monday night in a way they haven’t in at least a decade. They celebrated like it mattered, because it did.
LAS VEGAS – Among all the streaks, chokeholds and assorted algebraic proof of Gonzaga’s sway over the West Coast Conference lo these many years comes more: The last time the Bulldogs got bounced in the league tournament semis as a 1 or 2 seed was back in 1994. In the 16 seasons between then and this weekend came 15 championship game appearances, and 13 in a row.
Watched the Oscars last night and was terribly disappointed that no awards were given to my favorite movie of the past year, “Carrie II – The Ballet.” Then someone told me the actual title was “Black Swan.”
Watched the Oscars last night and was terribly disappointed that no awards were given to my favorite movie of the past year, “Carrie II – The Ballet.” Then someone told me the actual title was “Black Swan.” Really? I could have sworn … OK, so I’m no cinephile. I like my Captain Spauldings, my Czerviks, my Delta Tau Chis. I’m not much on “La Nuit de Subtitles” or Death walking on the beach. Still, it baffles me how the members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Self-Congratulation could have overlooked honoring some of these fine films:
Matt Bouldin took in the Gonzaga- Memphis game from a courtside seat at the Spokane Arena – or pretty much the last place he expected to be the first Saturday in February. His calendar instead showed a game 10 time zones away in Athens – his club team of Iraklis of Thessaloniki playing at Ilisiakos, with maybe a chance to move up in the standings of Greece’s A1 league, given that both of them are deadlocked at the bottom.
Matt Bouldin took in the Gonzaga-Memphis game from a courtside seat at the Spokane Arena – or pretty much the last place he expected to be the first Saturday in February.
Perhaps the mutually damning part of Gonzaga Prep running back Bishop Sankey wriggling off the hook of Washington State in the most overwrought recruiting derby in our city’s history was the young man’s explanation as to why he’d “committed” to the Cougars in the first place before reversing field this last week and throwing in with rival Washington. “At the time I committed to Washington State,” Sankey told ESPN 710 Seattle on Wednesday, “I didn’t have any other offers.”
PULLMAN – Go ahead, storm the court. Everyone else has. Video games don’t deal in as much carnage as what occurred in college basketball’s Top 25 over the weekend. Before sundown Sunday, a dozen teams in the Associated Press poll lost in the previous 30 hours, 10 of them to unranked opponents or a team below them on the list.